Doctors and drug company money have gone together like peas and carrots …
Researchers in many peer-reviewed journals have had to declare their conflicts of interest for several years now. It will be good to see physicians do the same sort of things.
The Cleveland Clinic is to be commended for this. More openness in pharma/doctor relationships should be useful, eventually.
I expect there may be a a tricky transition period when real education efforts need to take place. Not many doctors can remain ‘clean’ when it comes to drug companies. One example would be free samples. Doctors get these all the time and they have been really useful because we have been able to determine if a type of medication has side effects without having to get an entire prescription.
Often the binders used by different drug companies result in odd skin rashes, etc. So we have used the free samples to narrow down to ones that actually work. Is it a conflict of interest for a doctor to use free samples from a drug company he has a relationship with?
My answer would be no but I would like to know what the relationship was and talk to him about it. Most doctors are not going to go too far down the primrose path with a drug company because there are dangers aplenty.
and details of these interactions would eventually also serve as a check on those doctors who might be tempted to take a long journey down the path.